Inside the Underground Site Where ‘Neural Networks’ Churn Out Fake IDs

The site, called OnlyFake, threatens to streamline everything from bank fraud to money laundering, and has implications for cybersecurity writ large.
A photo of my generated fake ID.
Image: 404 Media.

This piece was produced with support from The Capitol Forum

An underground website called OnlyFake is claiming to use “neural networks” to generate realistic looking photos of fake IDs for just $15, radically disrupting the marketplace for fake identities and cybersecurity more generally. This technology, which 404 Media has verified produces fake IDs nearly instantly, could streamline everything from bank fraud to laundering stolen funds.

In our own tests, OnlyFake created a highly convincing California driver's license, complete with whatever arbitrary name, biographical information, address, expiration date, and signature we wanted. The photo even gives the appearance that the ID card is laying on a fluffy carpet, as if someone has placed it on the floor and snapped a picture, which many sites require for verification purposes. 404 Media then used another fake ID generated by this site to successfully step through the identity verification process on OKX. OKX is a cryptocurrency exchange that has recently appeared in multiple court records because of its use by criminals.

Rather than painstakingly crafting a fake ID by hand—a highly skilled criminal profession that can take years to master—or waiting for a purchased one to arrive in the mail with the risk of interception, OnlyFake lets essentially anyone generate fake IDs in minutes that may seem real enough to bypass various online verification systems. Or at least fool some people.

“The era of rendering documents using Photoshop is coming to an end,” an announcement posted to OnlyFake’s Telegram account reads. As well as “neural networks,” the service claims to use “generators” which create up to 20,000 documents a day. The service’s owner, who goes by the moniker John Wick, told 404 Media that hundreds of documents can be generated at once using data from an Excel table.